McKeowns to stay in harbour area

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McKeown Group Limited, a company which specialises in the supply of bulk fuel, looks set to have a presence on Oamaru’s waterfront for a long time yet.

The company has exercised its right under the conditions of its lease to renew the lease for a further 21 years.

Michael Ross, chief executive officer of the Waitaki District Council, said much of the land McKeowns occupies is on a perpetually renewable lease.

He said the company is a major council tenant in the harbour area and a major employer with more than 60 staff on their company payroll.

“The company has had a presence in the harbour precinct for many years and as such is one of the main historic links to the traditional activity carried out down there.”

Ken McKeown, managing director of McKeown Group Limited, confirmed that the company had renewed the lease for a further 21 years. He commented that the cost of moving and setting up another site would be astronomical.

This view was shared by Mayor Gary Kircher, who also said the company can co-exist with other waterfront businesses.

He said changes had been discussed regarding their tenancy. These include giving up part of their water frontage and constructing a new access route behind the business, away from Waterfront Road.

The McKeown Group website says the company was founded in Oamaru in 1966 by Bill McKeown and driver Bill Graham, as McKeown and Graham Limited.

By LINDA MCCARTHY